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2017 Racing Off to a Great Start

Posted By Megan Kinder, Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

In recent years, Singapore’s cyclists keen to experience the more competitive side of the sport have had to dig out their passports and travel off-island, with the closest racing options being at least a ferry ride away on the Indonesian islands of Bintan and Batam – or over the causeway in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The impressive and unrelenting drive for growth and development in Singapore meant that roads that had once been accessible and usable as race-circuit venues had disappeared under a mountain of construction and red tape, and local racing opportunities dwindled to virtually nothing.

With significant effort and concerted lobbying, Kent McCallum and his Cycosports team have been making headway in turning this situation around. Over the last 12 months Kent has been working together with the many different arms of the Singapore government, as well as community groups and cycling clubs, to uncover more opportunities for showcasing cycling in all its forms. This has led to an integrated approach to The Car Free Sunday (CFS) initiative, a URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) project designed to work towards Singapore becoming a ‘car-lite’ city that kicked off as a pilot during 2016. Each last Sunday of the month sees a 5.5km stretch of roads around the civic district and Chinatown closed off to cars, allowing all types of community groups to come together. The project not only focuses on reducing the number of cars in the downtown area and generally developing a greener and more sustainable Singapore, but also encourages all members of the community to take up an active, healthy lifestyle.

Having had a close association with Kent for many years – a Kiwi and fellow cyclist, who owns and operates Bikeplus LBS on Bukit Timah Road – ANZA Cycling was keen to help get things going. What better way to try and get awareness of cycling and bike racing up and running in the city-state than by getting on board with community initiatives – working together on a project that comes with a ready-prepared section of closed road.

ANZA Cycling started out by providing club members who would lead groups of community members and local riders from the heartlands into the downtown area – and generally provide a club presence to show our support. After several months, Kent reported that he would tentatively be able to go ahead with trialling a Criterium-style event (street circuit lap race) in conjunction with the Singapore Cycling Federation, if it were to be held prior to the official 8am CFS flag-off. To help lock in the race, the cycling clubs and teams who were likely to participate in the race looked for ways to provide further contribution and hands-on support. Enter the ANZA Cycling trishaw ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’!

The first ‘Share the Road’ Criterium was scheduled for the January edition of CFS, with three categories including Open Men, Open Women and Junior. With a good number of participant registrations in, and excitement amongst the cycling clubs building, there were deep sighs of relief as the permit for the racing was finally approved only 24 hours before the race was due to take place.

The cycling club community turned out in full force for the Criterium, which with its short street circuit, featuring tight bends and speedy straights made for an exciting spectator show in the heart of the city. ANZA Cycling members Mike Koreneff (racing as a non-team rider) and Adam Nelson (racing as Allied World) took out the respective 1st and 2nd in the Men’s Open, with Kelvin Khoo (Matador Racing) in 3rd.

ANZA Cycling was well represented in the Women’s race with Stephanie Lim, Shlomit Sorek, Ruth Stubbs and Megan Kinder joining the fun, with the placings ultimately going to 16-year-old Singaporean Ashley Lui (Cyclewerx) in 1st, Christina Liew (Team Cycledelic) in 2nd and Lizzie Hodges (Specialized Mavericks) in 3rd.

The event went off without a hitch, and was all finished up in good time for the racers to then head over to the Padang for the official CFS flag-off. An overwhelming number of club members turned up not only to support the race but to help out by cycling elderly people around the civic district in a fleet of trishaws. The feel-good factor was huge as the queues started forming among the older community members and their families – who were keen to be taken out for a spin by some of the participants (and podium placers) from the early morning race. Adam Nelson proved a very popular trishaw captain with one of the passengers chortling, ‘I cannot understand him but he’s very handsome. I ask him to go slow, so the ride will be long’!

The ‘Share the Road’ spirit clearly inspired authorities to get behind the local racing scene when IM Events Criterium was given the green-light at Choa Chu Kang only two weeks later. The ANZA Cycling women were once again out in good numbers with eight signing up for the race. Congratulations to Andrea Ferschl who finished 2nd over the line to bring her team, complete with Shlomit Sorek, Laura Gordon and Teresa Harding onto the podium in 3rd place!

We are delighted that the CFS ‘Share the Road’ Criterium series has been given the go ahead for the next few months.

 

ANZA Cycling runs a Newcomers' Ride on the first Saturday of each month. Email us for more details.

Tags:  ANZA Cycling  Singapore 

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Club Christmas Party and Awards

Posted By Megan Kinder, Thursday, 5 January 2017
Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Starting in the afternoon with kids’ activities galore, including a bouncy castle, magic show, mini-golf and golf lessons and going on well into the early hours with Christmas dinner, club awards and lots of festive cheer, our end-of-year party at Picotin was a bash bigger than Ben Hur.

We were lucky to also have the most spectacular Christmas Cake and Cookie Stand possibly ever seen, created by our resident cycling cake decorator and sculptor, Vavijana Velkov.

Club Awards were presented across six categories in recognition of both outstanding achievement and contribution to the club. The nominees – and winners in bold – include:

Most Improved Cyclist of the Year:
Female: Carmen Fay, Laura Gordon, Gillian Hatch, Claire Scott-Bardwell, Anna Vieusseux
Male: Reuben Bakker, Sofiane Behraoui, Phil Morris, Martin Phelan, Adam Scott, Frank Stevenaar

MTB Cyclist of the Year:
Female: Liesbeth Kanis, Hilke Rode
Male: Mark Huber, Arran Pearson, Chris Rawlings, Nick Richmond, Grant Ritchie, Phil Routley

Road Cyclist of the Year:
Female: Carmen Fay, Andrea Ferschl, Vicki Goodwin, Laura Gordon, Kari Nore, Shlomit Sorek
Male: Sofiane Behraoui, Peter McQuade, Phil Morris, Adam Nelson, Frank Stevenaar, Steven Wong

Triathlete of the Year:
Female: Edel Cusson, Rachel Dubois, Vicki Hill, Petro Kuiper, Helen McLure, Donna McWilliams
Male: James Crosby, Ben Farnsworth, Scott Leadbetter, Colin O’Shea, Martin Reynolds, Guillaume Rondy, Trent Standen

Outstanding Contribution to the Club:
Peter Archbold, Ting Chun, Laura Gordon, Megan Kinder, Ali Lott, Donna McWilliams, Mike Sewell, Bruce Swales

Club Member of the Year:
Andrew Cherriman, Laura Gordon, Megan Kinder, Phil Morris

ANZA Cycling runs a Newcomers' Ride on the first Saturday of each month. Email us for more details.

Tags:  ANZA Cycling  Singapore 

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Dodging Kicks, Punctures and Fatigue

Posted By Trent Standen, Thursday, 1 December 2016
Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The triathlon: A sport of immense pleasure and pain all rolled together into an event of short simple races – to distances so large they are often not found separating towns along Australia’s Eastern Seaboard. It was the challenge and friendship that drew me to the sport, plus the memories of watching the Hawaiian Ironman on Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sports as a child. This outlet for exercise and meeting friends slowly evolved into a more competitive endeavour, and finally lit a fire deep inside to set goals and achieve big things.

I had a punctured tyre when racing at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya in April of 2015. The dreaded time loss this created – and missing a world championship slot by one place – was the catalyst for creating the desire to race the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. The disappointment sparked a fire and motivation to plan how to qualify for the 2016 event – and for a successful qualification in Korea.
Arriving in Mooloolaba a few days before the race was a sight to be seen. The normally quiet and picturesque seaside enclave of the Sunshine Coast had become a hotbed of the international triathlon community, with 3,000 competitors from over 80 countries all proudly parading around town. Last-minute training rides, runs along the beachfront and sea swims seemed to be the order of the day. When people weren’t out enjoying the environment of Mooloolaba with last-minute training, they seemed to be wandering around town and drinking coffee while trying to outdo each other with their event shirts. Experienced triathletes tried to win the pre-race psychological battle with IM Kona, IM Cozumel, IM France or 2015 IM70.3 World Championships shirts – adorning some of the fittest people you are ever likely to see in the same place at the same time.

Waking before sunrise on race day Sunday saw a picture-perfect South East Queensland day developing. As the first hints of sunrise turned the distant horizon a glowing orange it was on to the beach to prepare for the chaos of the swim to begin. Being in the first wave of amateurs to start meant a clear swim ahead without the need to overtake slower swimmers. However, a deep-water start in a group of 350 athletes meant there was still a lot of kicking and punching going on during the first leg of the swim. Thankfully the kick to the face did not dislodge the goggles or break the nose. The crystal clear cool water allowed swimmers to see the bottom the entire course – and become distracted keeping an eye out for wonderful marine creatures and the not-so-wonderful men in grey suits. The 1.9km wetsuit-clad smooth water swim was over in no time.

Out of the water on to the soft sand meant time to begin ditching the wetsuit, as the roar of the crowd was finally heard for the first time. The noise almost carried me over the sand into one of the longest transition areas I have ever seen. Running the bike out of transition on to the esplanade to begin the bike, triathletes lay down the power past hundreds of people lining the road to get up to race speed – climbing out of Mooloolaba towards the Sunshine Coast Motorway. The motorway is a 40km loop that heads north towards Mt Coolum before U-turning and heading back south in what ended up being an exceptionally fast segment of the bike course. Unfortunately it also proved to be a drafter’s paradise, with groups of competitors combining their power and speed to up the ante and blast past non-cheating athletes in this flat and smooth section of road. The second segment of the bike course ventured through the semi-rural foothills behind Mooloolaba, with rolling winding rough roads and barely a human to be seen other than fellow competitors. It was about halfway through this part of the course that the road went up – straight up.

Although only a short climb, we were lucky there was no rain as the Garmin registered a 24% gradient at one stage – a true test of anyone’s strength. The rough roads and beginning stages of fatigue began to take their toll with competitors running off the road; bike crashes and punctured tyres impacting upon individuals’ races here. Thankfully I avoided the dreaded punctures – and a few near misses with crashes in front of me – to roll back into Mooloolaba safe and happy with my bike.

Swapping the cycling equipment for running shoes in the lengthy transition saw the start of the final part of the race. Running the half marathon on this course was a challenge, but also sheer pleasure, with the thousands of people lining the road. Running over Alexandra Headland four times, with spectators on either side of the road and up the centre, and through the café precincts of Maroochydore and Picnic Point saw the pain begin to really set in. Although the crowd was amazing, and seeing family and long lost friends along the side of the course was brilliant, the course began to take a toll. The fourth and final time cresting Alexandra Headland was both painful and exhilarating. The pain in the feet and legs were excruciating, while the thought of crossing the finish line of the World Championships within a kilometre was inspiring.

Running through the finish chute and across the finish line, knowing I was now a World Championship finisher, was one of the best feelings I’ve experienced. The post-race exhilaration and exhaustion all came crashing together at the same moment, as one of the amazing catchers held me up as I regained control of my body and breathing. What an experience. Bring on the qualifying races for 2017 with the goal of racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga next year.

ANZA Cycling runs a Newcomers' Ride on the first Saturday of each month. Email us for more details.

Tags:  ANZA Cycling  Singapore  Triathlon 

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Pedalling through rain and shine

Posted By Megan Kinder, Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

For the second time this year, ANZA Cycling organised a day trip to Desaru on the east coast of Malaysia – with the specific intention of inviting riders who were ‘new to 100km’ rides. The day starts with an early morning bumboat across the (usually tranquil) waters from Changi Point to Tanjung Pengelih, followed by a 50km ride up to the resort area of Desaru – with quiet-ish roads and only one or two traffic lights along the way. The group stops at Desaru for a coffee and a refuel, then rides the 50km back to the ferry terminal for a nice round trip on mostly flat roads – with a few rolling sections to complete the 100km.

The group of 22 riders comprised of seasoned cyclists, recreational spinners interested in a ride outside of Singapore and two women; Natalie Hall and Sally Morris have been steadily building their mileage over the last several months, for whom this ride presented a great opportunity to complete their first 100km.

Natalie started the day with some nerves but mostly positivity, sharing: ‘I woke up nice and early with a feeling of excitement, and nervousness for my first 100km ride. The Saturday Kranji ride was always fun with the ANZA group, but this was going to be the furthest I had ever ridden, hence the nerves.’

Sally, who was accompanied by her experienced-cyclist husband Phil, had a rockier start to the day, with the GPS sending them to the wrong ferry terminal. ‘After running late to get to Changi Village Ferry Terminal, there was an hour’s wait to get through immigration and load us and our bikes onto two fast bum boats,’ Sally says. ‘Bumboats – as the name might suggest – are not the most luxurious means of transport, and the sky then blackened. The sea became choppy, and I started to wonder whether my sea legs would survive the journey.

They did, and the group arrived in Malaysia about the same time as the massive rain storm. The rain was welcomed as it cooled the temperature down, but the decision was made to wait for the worst of it to pass before the group would set off.

Understandably apprehensive of the conditions with the wet slippery roads – which then means compromised braking and road spray, often straight into the eyes – the group set off at a steady, comfortable pace, with lots of tips for the newbies on cycling in the rain and on wet roads.

‘We were rolling, the pace was comfortable, the road was flat, and all the chit chat and banter along the way made the kilometres fly by,’ Natalie comments. ‘Before I knew it, we were climbing the rolling hills which meant only another 10km to Desaru. They were a little tough, but manageable. I also knew a rest and refuel was waiting at the end of them.’

‘I have never been so grimy!’ Sally adds. ‘This ride was advertised as a “new to 100k ride” and hence was to be a “slow” ride in ANZA Cycling terms, and us newbies would benefit from the expert guidance of more experienced riders. We all kept together, with good rotations, each of us sharing time at the front – though this was kept to a minimum for us newbies – and until about 40 kilometres the rain kept coming.

‘As we passed the 50-kilometre mark, Desaru was in sight, and we headed for the best resort in the area for coffee and sustenance, only to be told they were closed for renovation. “Everyone about-turn!” Luckily there was another resort just down the road, but the staff and guests looked stunned as a mass of muddy cyclists turned up. Thankfully the sun had now come out, so chocolate and ice-cream was called for. We gave the holidaying resort-goers a few giggles as we paraded past them, munching down on Mars bars and Magnums, with all of us covered in mud!’

Natalie reflects on the satisfaction of reaching Desaru: ‘During the break I was thinking “Woop, I’ve made it half-way, my legs are still working, and I’m feeling pretty good, I can finish this”.’

Wind often plays a factor in how easy or enjoyable a ride is, and very often we enjoy a tailwind on the way back to the ferry from Desaru. On this occasion it was not to be, and we set off for the return journey faced with a frustrating mix of headwinds and crosswinds – plus an uncommon amount of traffic, which meant for safety reasons it was better to split the group into two.

Sally recounts: ‘Back on the bikes for the 50 kilometres back to the port. It was a completely different second half of the ride with the sun shining. It became tougher as time went on; the slow incline on some of the hills became more challenging, and the group split into two. There were no hiccups – except for one puncture – on the way back, and just enjoyable riding out of town with minimal traffic lights.’

Natalie was finding the return a bit tougher: ‘There is no denying it; those hills beat me on the way back. I’d hit the wall, and it felt like I was riding in sand and I just couldn’t keep up the pace. I wanted to stop and give up, and I would have if it weren’t for the group and one of the riders who stuck with me and encouraged me to keep going and not give up. The second group had stopped to fix a flat but then caught up with us, and the whole group then kept up the encouragement, and pushed me – literally at some points – to the end.

It was one of the best feelings, seeing that 100 kilometre “click” over on the Garmin for the first time. I had actually done it – 108 kilometres in total! My lasting memory of this trip will be the encouragement and support from the group not to give up, to just keep pedalling, and to look forward to the beer waiting at the end of it.’

Congratulations to Sally and Natalie – and all the riders – for their 100km achievement! Thanks especially to Carmen Fay, who was the chief organiser for the day, and to the whole bunch that helped the girls push through.

ANZA Cycling runs a Newcomers' Rode on the first Saturday of each month. For more details email us.

Tags:  ANZA Cycling  Singapore 

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Couples that cycle keep the love

Posted By Administration, Friday, 19 August 2016
Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2016

ANZA cycling's Megan Kinder asked couples if it's true whether 'couples that cycle together stay together'.

 

Peter Tasevski responds, ‘Couples that buy bikes together stay together even longer!’ It was Anna’s very fit father, who got Peter into cycling. ‘He inspired me to lose ten kilos and kick his butt up the hills in Sydney! Cycling together makes it easier explaining where you disappear to for four hours each weekend morning. It also makes travelling more interesting if you’re both happy to ride around and explore.’

With her boyfriend, dad and best friend all cycling together every weekend, Anna Vieusseux decided she wanted in. ‘It sure saves a lot of arguments about what you’re going to do on the weekend!’

Kerry Tremblay shares, ‘I wanted to do something with my husband and I thought group riding looked exciting. The shared experience and friendships definitely help build a strong relationship! Cycling together in different parts of the world is something we look forward to doing in our retirement.’

Kerry’s husband Pierre fuels up both partners with his homemade banana smoothie, which he says is perfect for Singapore and provides enough energy to get around an 85km Changi ride. ‘You need to be in some ways part of your partner’s world and the more you do together, the more you understand them,’ Pierre says. ‘Marriage is about teamwork and cycling together teaches you a lot in that regard. Few couples ride in the same group but that’s okay. Being part of the same club and knowing the same people is just as important. I chuckled when Kerry told her friends after her first club ride that ‘she and her bike were one.’

‘Just do it!’ Lisa Archbold responds. ‘Cycling is fun and social. We have made so many great friends together thanks to ANZA Cycling. On Saturdays Pete swaps between riding with me and riding in a faster group – I think it’s dependent on the Friday night wine intake!’

Lisa’s husband Pete shares, ‘Quietly, I think I got a bit jealous when Lisa signed up for a triathlon series back in Melbourne and needed a new bike. So I went online to find something cheaper – just in case I didn’t ride it. I have since upgraded and now ride around two hundred kilometres a week. Cycling is a great way to motivate each other to keep fit and find a bit of extra time to spend with one another. It makes present shopping so much easier. The array of gadgets, kits, bikes, wheels, etcetera that you can give is limitless’.

Phil Morris clocks up around 250 kilometres a week and has recently been joined on the bike by his wife Sally. He says, ‘This statement is far truer than “Couples who play tennis together stay together”! Sally is pretty new to cycling, so most cycling is without her, currently but I hope that will change. I’d definitely say that if your cycling abilities vary, encourage your partner to join a club to start cycling with people of a similar ability to gain confidence.’

Sally, who started cycling four months ago, adds, ‘We love doing a sport together, and we are hoping it can lead to some trips away too. So yes, as long as each of you knows each other’s limits, then yes a good statement! Just don’t compete with your partner, as that could lead to trouble.’

Steven O’Connor started cycling when he moved to Singapore and found it too hot to run. His wife Rachel started coming out with ANZA in March this year and comments, ‘It’s a really social activity so it’s good to get out together, do something, meet new people and get a shared sense of achievement.’ Rachel likes to help polish off Steven’s Chocolate Dinosaur drink after the rides, which seems only fair as Steven remembers, ‘It was our first ride in Singapore on brand new bikes, where just fifty meters after setting off, Rachel needs to stop, forgets to clip out and falls in the middle of the road in front of some worried onlookers. Thankfully she laughed instead of cried.’ Rachel elaborates, ‘I’ve had a few falls when I first started riding; nothing serious, just forgetting to clip in and out... Of course it’s always Steven’s fault!’

Anthony Aldous has been riding since childhood and now rides 150-250 kilometres a week with his partner Sarah. ‘I used it to bike to school, college, university and then work – both in London and here in Singapore, which is where I bought my first road bike and officially became a roadie,’ Anthony says. ‘Even if you’re not evenly matched you can still ride together, it doesn’t always have to be full gas – the faster rider practices spinning on flats or the better climber practices keeping the heart rate down.’ He advises, ‘If you both enjoy riding together it gives you chances to justify more bikes and gear.’

Asked about Anthony in lycra, Sarah shares, ‘Although he cuts a fine figure, I prefer his everyday look. Also, it really is hard for anyone to look attractive in padded shorts’.

Maurice and Linda Laratro came together through fitness, first meeting at the gym. Linda says, ‘Cycling gave us another common interest. After twenty four years of marriage we still enjoy each other’s company and exercising together. I mostly ride with hubby but I do like to get in some “secret training” when he is away to try to keep up with him.’

Maurice remembers, ‘During one ride in Australia, we all got to the top of a sevenkilometre hill climb and were waiting for Linda. She was so exhausted when she reached the top, she couldn’t unclip and just fell over – right in the middle of the road. She looked like an upside down beetle. In my haste to assist, I threw my bike to my mate who couldn’t react fast enough sending my bike flying as well. Thankfully, we all went on to finish!’

Andrea Ferschl commented about her and Martin, ‘Only if you have a very strong relationship you will manage cycling together. It’s always best to cycle with someone who’s about the same level, otherwise one or both of you will not be happy!’

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